Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Welcome Trisha Slay and a Guest Post: Confessions of a Closet Star Wars Geek

Welcome Trisha Slay author of Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away! 

Check it out, click here!

Say the two words, "Star Wars", at my home and there's an immediate reaction.  I have two boys, after all, ages 6 and 9 who are always ready for a lightsaber duel.  Even my daughter isn't immune to the power of the "force".  For my husband and I, it comes down to childhood nostalgia.  No matter how many new movies they make, we will always regard the original trilogy of Star Wars films as the best!  So, yes, I will admit that there's a little "Star Wars Geek" in each member of my family.

Is there a little (or a lot) "Star Wars Geek" in you?  If you're a child of the 70's and 80's (like me), it's time to step out of the "Star Wars Geek" closet!

Confessions of a Closet Star Wars Geek

Once upon a time---not so long ago and not so far away---I walked into a movie theater with a fountain soda in one hand and a box of Lemonheads in the other as the opening credits started to roll for the most anticipated movie of the summer. By the time I walked out of that theater, 124 minutes later, everything had changed. Everything.

The year was 1980. The movie was THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.

Does that surprise you?

This is where I admit that I went to a movie theater three years earlier and watched the original release of STAR WARS, but I was not truly moved or changed at all. It was a fun movie, but it was not my favorite movie. I was six-years-old in the summer of 1977. THE RESCUERS, CANDLESHOE, and CHARLIE’S ANGELS made a much bigger impression on me that year. Still, I owned the original Kenner action figures and the Princess Leia Bubble Bath. I wished for my very own R2-D2 to clean my room. Every empty cardboard wrapping paper roll would forever and always be a lightsaber to me.

But, the truth is, I was NOT an original 1977 STAR WARS geek.

Then, in March of 1980, my most perfectly wonderful world crumbled. Grandpa Eldon – my best friend, the light of my life and the man I knew as “Daddy” from my earliest memories – suffered a massive heart attack. He died a week later in the hospital, leaving a terrible, jagged hole in my soul. Three months later, stumbling around in a fog of grief and pretending everything was “fine, fine, just fine,” my grandmother and I went to see THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Now that is the point where I was turned inside out and scrubbed clean. Yoda changed everything. “I love you” and “I know” changed everything. “I am your father” changed EVERYTHING. For a few blissful years, I was comfortable and happy being a complete and total STAR WARS geek to the core.

That was the 80′s. Eventually, STAR WARS deteriorated into a cliche. I became addicted to MTV, fell in love with Duran Duran, sprayed my hair into preposterous shapes and pretended that my heart was not yearning for a galaxy far, far away. Somewhere along the way, STAR WARS fans became the punchline to every snarky joke about what was sad, pathetic and weird in our culture. And I would laugh at those jokes, even as I died a little bit each time. Fighting through every day, always feeling awkward in my own skin, I did not want to be seen as one of those weirdo STAR WARS geeky types. 

Even in the early 90′s, when Timothy Zahn published his incredible Thrawn Trilogy, I read the novels by flashlight in my college dorm room while continuing to keep my fangirl persona a secret. In my late twenties and early thirties, I did get a bit more brave. There were a few times when I let some trusted friends get a tiny peek at my inner geek. I’ll never forget the time I simultaneously delighted and horrified my best friends by achieving national ranking in a STAR WARS trivia contest (just before the release of the new trilogy). 

Dating guys who staked any claim to the STAR WARS universe was always a disaster for me. If I dared to bare my geekery, I was inevitably smacked down by their need to demonstrate superior knowledge of facts, figures, starships and weaponry. (What is it with men who think being a true fan of anything  = memorization skills?)

I still remember the moment when the basic concept for this silly fangirl story came knocking on my brain. I did not want to write it for many reasons. No way! But the main character, Erika, simply would not leave me alone. Somehow, I'm still not sure how it happened, I found myself pitching this unformed, unwritten concept of a "fangirl novel" to an editor at an SCBWI writing conference in Los Angeles. Her reaction was electric. I knew immediately that I had to write this book. And as I was writing, I fell in love with my own inner STAR WARS fangirl all over again. 

So now I am out of the closet, proudly flying my geek flag. I dig droids. I really do believe that anger, fear and aggression lead to the Dark Side. But I won’t camp out in front of movie theaters and I will never wear a metal bikini. There are limits to my devotion. 

With the launch of my first fangirl novel---NOT SO LONG AGO, NOT SO FAR AWAY (Deeds Publishing, May 2013)---I have forced myself to reach out to the larger STAR WARS fan universe. It is still hard for me. Most of them were brave and brazen fans when I was weak and ashamed of my inner geek. Still, I force myself to reach out. And guess what? I am continually in awe of the warm, wonderful and, yes, slightly wacky STAR WARS fan community.

Thanks Trisha for bringing back some great memories of the 80's!  And, I agree to boycotting camping out in front of movie theaters wearing a metal bikini!

Check out Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away:
(As Yoda would say, "Check it out, you must.")

Click here to check it out!

         More about Trisha Slay
Trisha Slay is a writer with a passion for storytelling. She has studied at the Institute of Children's Literature as well as furthering her skills through online workshops. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators and the Atlanta Writer's Club. She enjoys participating in writing groups and spends a great deal of time improving her craft. Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away is her first novel.

Tricia hopes Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away would be compared to Looking for Alaska by John Green and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. She has said that "If those two books had a Star Wars-obsessed little sister, I'd like to think she would be my novel."

Tricia lives between the Atlanta metro area and the North Georgia Mountains, but hails originally from Ohio...by the way of the San Francisco Bay area. When she is not working on her next book (tentatively titled Sometimes We Strike Back), her interests include: 70s pop culture; unsolved mysteries; Star Wars (original trilogy); historic movie theaters; haunted history; reading (especially YA novels); nutrition/weight watchers/healthy vegetarian cuisine; hiking (exploring the National Forest trails with her guy); yoga/meditation; miscellaneous crafting projects (that rarely turn out as envisioned); and writing letters she never intends to mail.

Contact Trisha Slay: 

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